Friday, January 02, 2009

King: Law still forbids electronic bingo

Is Bingo consider gambling?

The Associated Press • January 2, 2009

GADSDEN -- Attorney General Troy King said electronic bingo machines will be seized if they are brought into Etowah County before the current law governing bingo has been changed or successfully challenged.
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"This is not a threat, but a fulfillment of my oath to faithfully execute the laws of this state," King said at a news conference earlier this week with the Etowah Baptist Association.
King said a constitutional amendment allowing bingo in the north Alabama county applies only to traditional paper bingo, and he said electronic bingo is still illegal. But others disagree.
An October ruling by Etowah County Circuit Judge Clark Hall appeared to clear the way for electronic bingo in Etowah County. Some county officials interpreted the ruling to allow the county commission to decide what forms of bingo it wants and who will operate it.
CBS Supply of Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Coosa Entertainment of Rainbow City are working together to try to develop a resort complex with bingo in Etowah County.
King is warning county officials that bringing electronic bingo would be risky.
"Until someone changes the law or says this law means what it doesn't say, we plan to enforce the law as it is written in the constitution of Alabama," King said.
King's visit to Etowah County came one day after Gov. Bob Riley created a task force to investigate gambling statewide and appointed a veteran antigambling prosecutor, former Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber, to lead it. The governor did not include the attorney general on the task force.
Etowah County District Attorney Jimmie Harp said he and County Sheriff Todd Entrekin spoke with Barber on Tuesday morning and requested that Etowah County be his first stop. The sheriff said the topic of the meeting will be the appropriate administration of bingo laws in the county.
Electronic bingo is already offered in several Alabama counties, including the dog tracks in Macon and Greene counties.
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